Lauren Kiggins, For The Miami Student

Back for its third year, the Grand Night Ensemble and Orchestra will perform this weekend with Cincinnati Entertainment Award-wining artists Cincy Brass.

Grand Night is a compilation of classic show tunes and songs that make up two acts. The ensemble is comprised of 30 vocalists who had to audition as vocalists and dancers.

“It’s a great opportunity for not only music majors, but non-majors as well,” junior Branden Baribeau, a performer in the show as well as dance captain, said. “We all grow as performers and people.”

According to Baribeau, this year’s repertoire includes work by Duke Ellington, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter to encompass the Big Band Era in its entirety.

The show is under the direction of Music Professor Ben Smolder and will feature 38 instrumentalists as the Grand Night Orchestra.

“Grand Night is by far the show I look forward to doing the most every year,” junior and first violinist James Hogan said. “It’s so much fun to be directed under professor Smolder. His energy conveys right into the music.”

The vocalists agree there have been no issues with motivation.

“Everyone loves going to rehearsal; the dynamic of the group is really great,” Baribeau said.

In addition to the Cincy Brass, Tedrin Lindsay, pianist and University of Kentucky faculty member, will return to perform with the Grand Night Ensemble and Orchestra.

To promote the weekend’s performances, Alexander Dining Hall is holding an event this Wednesday themed around Grand Night. From 5-7 p.m. there will be student performances followed by an art exhibit from 7-9 p.m.

“Audience members don’t know what they’re in store for,” Baribeau said. “This is going to be an incredible production.”

Grand Night: The Big Band Era begins 7:30 p.m. March 23 and 24 in Hall Auditorium. Tickets are available at the Shriver Box Office. For more information visit grandnight.info.

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